New Zealand, China Sign Free-Trade Agreement, Starting October

Under the clouds of Tibet crackdown, China today welcomes its first free-trade partner, New Zealand. From Bloomberg:

New Zealand today became the first developed country to sign a free-trade agreement with China, giving the island nation’s farm exporters unfettered access to the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The agreement covering trade in goods, services and investment was ratified by Prime Minister Helen Clark and China’s Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing today, Clark said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg News. Almost half of New Zealand’s exports are from agriculture…

The agreement will be effective from Oct. 1, when China will begin to remove tariffs on a range of goods and services, the New Zealand government said in a statement released after the signing. The deal contains a range of gradual reductions to Chinese tariffs on New Zealand exports, which according to government figures cost companies about NZ$115 million a year.

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